Travel company’s licence revoked for links to missing tourists in Taiwan

Hanoi (VNA) � Hanoi’s Department of Tourism on December 29 said it revoked the international travel business licence granted to the Golden Travel Trade and Tourism Company Limited, one of the two companies that signed Taiwan tour contracts for 152 tourists who then went missing in Taiwan (China).

Hanoi-based Golden Travel Trade and Tourism Company Limited, and Twin Bright Company Limited referred the 152 Vietnamese tourists, divided into four groups, to HCM City-based International Holidays Travel Company Limited.

Taiwanese company ETholiday asked the International Holidays Travel Company Limited to aid the tourists with their visa arrangements. When the tourists failed to show up to their tour destinations, ETholiday sent a report to police.

ETholiday said it received four groups totalling 153 Vietnamese travellers from December 21 to December 23, but by December 23, 152 had disappeared from the groups. The only one accounted for at the time was a 17-year-old boy.

Apart from revoking the company’s licence for nine months, the Hanoi Department of Tourism imposed 48.5 million VND fines on the Golden Travel Trade and Tourism Company Limited, reasoning its violations in reporting mechanism, storing documents, making written tour contracts with tourists, using tour guides without registered licences, and managing its tourists.

For the Twin Bright Company Limited’s involvement, the department transferred the case to Hanoi police for further investigation into its legal representative Le Thanh Tung, who signed the contract with HCM City-based International Holidays Travel Company Limited, but said he did not know the purpose of the signing of the contract.

Twin Bright Company Limited’s registered business licence deals with advertisement and communications, not international travel activities.

Eleven out of the 152 Vietnamese tourists who went missing in Taiwan were detained by the local authorities for investigation, according to the Vietnam Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei.

Three were detained by police as they are accused of violating laws on Anti-Human Trafficking, Immigration and Labour Code of Taiwan (China).

Based on information and recommendations from Taiwan, Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Public Security, and National Administration of Tourism have been working with Taiwanese agencies to investigate and address the case.

The foreign ministry has instructed the Vietnam Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei to contact local competent authorities to seek full information about these tourists and visit the detainees.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said tourism activities and the eased visa policy for tourists in some countries and territories have been abused for the purpose of illegal working. It doesn’t rule out the possibility that some organisations and individuals have taken advantage of this policy to set up rings illegally sending Vietnamese overseas.

Such violations must be strictly punished in line with laws, the ministry said.

Taiwanese authorities said that investigation into the case is underway. In the immediate future, Taiwan plans to stop granting group visas for the Vietnamese company, which arranged itineraries for the missing tourists.-VNA

Source; Vietnam News Agency

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